Gifted Education with Academic Rigor

Committed to Excellence in Education

Site Coordinator

Charla Brinson has recently been named as the new Site Coordinator and Director of the Gifted Education with Academic Rigor (GEAR) program. Brinson had previously held the position as assistant principal at Stringfellow Elementary School for the past two years. Prior to that, Brinson has worked for the Colquitt County School System in various leadership and teaching roles for both elementary and middle grades academic subjects as well as working for the migrant and summer school programs since 1991.

                Brinson, a graduate of Colquitt County High School, earned her undergraduate degree in Middle Grades Education from Georgia Southwestern University. She went on to receive her masters and specialist degrees in middle grades education from Georgia Southwestern University. Brinson earned her ESOL endorsement from State University of West Georgia and her gifted endorsement from Southwest Georgia RESA. She has received post-graduate educational leadership degree from Valdosta State University.

                “I’m very excited to take on this new chapter in my educational journey,” stated Brinson. “I want to focus on the academic rigors of the GEAR program and my goal is to make our program a model exemplar for the state of Georgia—our teachers and their experience in the classroom are truly outstanding!” Brinson went on to explain that she will continue the application process of adding a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) certification to the GEAR program’s rigor of guidelines, “bridging the gap between academics and real-world problem solving, enabling our students to become more competitive for higher education and their future career paths.”

                Brinson is engaged to Jeffery Campbell and resides in Doerun. Her son, Cameron is a graduate of CCHS and will attend Valdosta State University in the Fall to pursue a degree in Engineering. Alaina Campbell is an honor student at Williams Middle School. Brinson’ mother, aunt, and sister-in-law also were or are employed by the Colquitt County School System, rounding out a multi-generational dedication to education.

Staff Bios

Hannah Boyd

Ms. Hannah began her teaching career in 2012. She is very excited to be teaching 4th grade Science and Math. Ms. Hannah graduated from Colquitt County High School in 2007 and will be a Packer fan for life! She received her Bachelors, Masters, and Education Specialist degrees from Georgia Southwestern State University.


Ms. Hannah loves to travel with her daughter, Ellie Rae. The beach is their favorite place. Outside of the United States, Ms. Hannah has visited Germany, Paris, Italy, Jamaica, Cancun, Bahamas, Honduras, and Belize.


 Kristy Croft

Kristy Croft grew up in a military family and resided in Thomasville where she graduated from high school. At Southwest Technology College she began the OTA program where she earned an Associate in Occupational Therapy. After passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, she still wanted to accomplish her lifelong career as a teacher and graduated in 2003 with an Early Childhood degree and has been teaching in Colquitt County. She has furthered her professional learning by completing the Reading Endorsement and Gifted Endorsement. She continued her education and received her Master’s in 2006 in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading.  

Kristy is currently teaching fifth grade Social Studies and Science.

She is married to a local farmer. They live in Colquitt County with their four children.

 Donald Dale

Coach Dale has 40 years in public education. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia. In 1975, he went to work for the prestigious Atlanta Athletic Club as the assistant athletic director. From 1979 until 1991 he coached in Seminole, Madison, and Upson County. He was employed by Colquitt County in 1991 where he coached the girls’ basketball team for 24 years and golf for 21 years. Coach Dale has a wife of 39 years, Ms. Sue and 3 children Whitney, Elizabeth, and Joshua. Whitney is married to Jason Moss and they have two sons, Everett and John Parker. Elizabeth lives in Atlanta, Ga. and is the Director of Purchasing for Egleston and Scottish Rites Hospital. Josh is married to Daphne and they have a son, Ezekial. 

Lisa Duncan

Lisa Duncan has been teaching for twelve years, and has taught at GEAR for half of her teaching career. As a third grade math and science teacher, she loves to engage students and hopes to instill a love for math and science at an early age. It is her hope that when students leave her classroom, they will not stop loving people, asking questions, and investigating solutions. 


Mrs. Duncan is married to Clark Duncan, and they have one beautiful daughter, Lily Rae.



Colquitt County High School, 2004

Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, Valdosta State University, 2007

Master’s Degree in Accomplished Teaching, Georgia Southern, 2011

Gifted Endorsement

STEM Endorsement (2018)

Noel Giles

Noel Giles is in her 28th year with the Colquitt County School System. While obtaining her teaching degree, she was a paraprofessional at Stringfellow Elementary School in the special education classes for two years. Upon graduation from Valdosta State University in 1993, she began her teaching career as an Inclusion Teacher at Okapilco Elementary School. 

In 1994, she began teaching first grade until 2014 when she transferred to 3rd grade for two years. Currently, she is teaching 3rd grade English Language Arts and Social Studies at GEAR. Noel shared, "I'm so thankful to to have the  opportunity to teach at GEAR and provide a challenging, but fun, engaging learning environment for my students." "It's a privilege to be a part of such an amazing group of talented teachers.Her favorite quote is one of Henry Ford- If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right!

Noel is married to Darren Giles and they have two sons, Lance and Nick.


Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education, Valdosta State University

Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education, Valdosta State University 

Education Specialist in Early Childhood Education 

Reading Endorsement from Valdosta State University 

Gifted Endorsement from South Georgia RESA


  Kim Greene

Kim Greene, a native of California, graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Art Education. For over 15 years she has served Georgia’s students teaching preschool through 12th grade. She received the Innovative Teacher’s Grant from the Junior Woman’s Club for designing and implementing a series of cross curriculum lessons. Additionally Mrs. Greene has furthered her professional learning by earning her Middle School English Language Arts Certificate and Gifted Endorsement through North West Georgia RESA. She has professional training in Computer Science Fundamentals from Code Studio and the Google Summit.  Mrs. Greene carefully structures arts based pedagogy that promotes, collaboration, critical thinking while developing skills across disciplines. This year she teaches Visual Arts and Technology. Furthermore she coordinates the Design Team.

She continues to be happily married to Rev Matt Greene for over 25 years. They have three children: AnnaBrooke, Aubrey and Bo. Her hobbies include spending quality time with her family, serving at her church, playing with her dogs and making art. 

Rebecca Hopper

Rebecca moved to Moultrie in 2006 when her husband, Kevin, accepted a position at Mount Olive Baptist Church as Associate and Youth Pastor. Prior to moving to Moultrie, Rebecca worked part time as the Publications Secretary & Student Ministry Secretary at their church in Douglasville. She also worked as the Office Manager at Georgia State University's Baptist Collegiate Ministry.  

Rebecca is married to Kevin Hopper and enjoyed being a stay at home mom for 11 years. Kevin and Rebecca have 3 children, Kale, Maris, and Kade. Their family loves sports, especially baseball and softball. They also love spending time with friends and family!


Wanda Jones

Mrs. Wanda Jones is in her 38th year in the Colquitt County School System. She began in the Colquitt County School System on August 29, 1977. She taught K-5 in Norman Park from 1977 through 2005 before transferring to gifted services. She obtained her gifted endorsed in 2005. Mrs. Jones has served as a collaborative and resource science teacher since joining gifted services in 2005. She facilitated the Galaxy and AIMS programs and served as the system chair on the science curriculum revision committee. She was a presenter at the National Association for Gifted Children. Mrs. Jones stated, “I do not want my classroom to be a place where students expect me simply to dispense knowledge, but instead, a place where they come to explore the world and develop their abilities to think critically and communicate clearly. I want to teach my students to be aware of what is occurring in the world and how they can make a difference.”


Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University
Master degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
Education Specialist in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University
STEM training from NESPAL
BrainGym training

     Mr. William Madison

    Mr. Madison joined the GEAR team October 15, 2015. Prior to working with the school system, he worked for Wells Aluminum for 29 years, Cooper Tire for 7 years, and Sanderson Farms for 5 years. He has been married to Mrs. Janice Faye Madison for 43 years and they have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. 
      Becky Martin

    Rebecca Martin is a Resource Teacher with the Colquitt County Gifted Program.  Ms. Martin's duties included providing gifted serves for K-2 students at Odom, Okapilco and Stringfellow Elementary Schools.  For 16 years she has taught in the system with 12 of those years with the gifted program.

    Ms. Martin is a 1974 graduate of the University of Georgia.  She holds a Masters and Gifted Certification for Early Childhood through 8th grade with Endorsements in Math, Reading and Social Studies.

    Before teaching in Colquitt County Ms. Martin taught in Emanuel, Bulloch, Thomas and Decatur Counties. She grew up in Twin City Georgia, Emanuel County.

    "I am a life long learner with much more to learn..."

    Beth Miller

    Beth Miller is in her 29th year of teaching in Colquitt County.  She graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor and Master’s degree in music education and began teaching at Funston and Sunset Elementary schools.  While teaching music education at the two elementary schools, she received teacher of the year several times throughout.  Beth has also served as the music worship leader at Autryville Baptist church.  In year 2008 completing gifted certification, she worked at the gifted center as a gifted resource teacher.  August of 2012 Beth accepted the choral director position at C.A. Gray Junior High School and CCHS Women’s Choral Director.  Her career shifts again to G.E.A.R. August 2017, sharing her own desire to explore, create and invent in her resource class called “Brainworks”.  She continues to direct the CCHS Women’s Choir as a gifted resource teacher.  Beth has taught and continues to teach music lessons (voice, piano, violin, choir) at Colquitt County Art Center for 18 years.

    Beth is married to Marvin Miller for 30 years.   She has two children, Evan and Kara.  Kara is married to Michael Bowling and has a beautiful baby girl, Mary Elizabeth.  Beth loves music, baking, repurposing items, painting, sewing, nature walks and just about anything and everything!  If you were to ask Mrs. Miller “What do you like to do most?”…she would probably answer…everything!

      Mendy McCoy

    Mendy Hill McCoy was born and raised in Tifton, Georgia but now considers herself to be an official Colquitt County Packer. Having over 20 years experience in working with students of all ages, Mendy is in her 8th year of teaching within the Colquitt County School System. She taught 9th grade literature at C.A. Gray Jr. High for five years where two of the years were spent teaching the 9th grade honors and 8th grade advanced gifted students. While those two years proved to be challenging, they also were extremely rewarding and instilled in Mendy a driving passion to work with gifted students.

    Mendy is married to Colquitt County native, Robert McCoy Jr., who is the Pastor of Autreyville Baptist Church. They have three children Shelby, Mary Grace, and Trey. In her spare time, she enjoys junking at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores finding anything to add to her classroom to make it a place of discovery for her students.


    Bachelor's Degree in Middle Grades Education from Valdosta State University

    Master’s Degree in General Education from Liberty University

    (Spring 2018) Specialist Degree in Instructional Technology from University of West Georgia

    Gifted Endorsement


     Kayla Sellers

    In March of 1981 two important events that would define the course of her life occurred.  Kayla married Denny Sellers and graduated from Valdosta State College with a Bachelor of Education Degree.  Her teaching career began in Bainbridge, Georgia where she would establish our first home.   It was during that tenure at Jones Wheat Elementary in Bainbridge that she made the decision to further her education.  While continuing to teach, she commuted to Troy State University in Alabama to obtain her Master of Elementary Education Degree in 1985.  Kayla enjoyed eight wonderful years of teaching at Jones Wheat.

    Denny was granted a transfer to Colquitt County in 1989.  Leaving their home in Bainbridge, they established their second and final home in Hartsfield.  Kayla was elated to receive a position at Sunset Elementary.  She spent twenty-three blissful years teaching both the second and third grades at Sunset.  While teaching there, she was honored to be twice named Sunset’s Teacher of the Year.  This humbling honor was bestowed upon her in the 1997-1998 school term and again in the 2008-2009 school term. 

    During Kayla years at Sunset two beautiful additions were added to their family.  Their eldest child, Clay, was born in 1990, and four years later they were blessed with Camille.  Clay has graduated from college with a Bachelor Degree of Diversified Agriculture and is married to the former Kaitlyn Suber.  They have blessed the family with two beautiful grandchildren, Clayton Joseph Sellers ll and Honey Kate.  Camille is currently in college seeking a Master Degree of Speech Language Pathology. 

    In 2012 Kayla retired from teaching.  It was not long after she made that decision that she knew her teaching career was not over.   She decided to substitute in schools thinking substituting would fill the void that she felt.  While Kayla enjoyed this, she yearned for the long term connection to the children that she had so enjoyed during her teaching career.   At that point, she did the unthinkable!  She went back to get yet another credential added to her degree.  Who does that?  The answer would be--- KAYLA! This time she sought a gifted endorsement.  She received her endorsement in 2013. Kayla was blessed to become part of the GEAR staff in 2014.  

    Monica Tugwell

    Monica Tugwell has been a teacher in Colquitt County for 26 years.  The first 12 years of her teaching career were spent in special education; the second eight were in fourth and fifth grade, while the last six have been spent at GEAR teaching third and fifth grade social studies and science.  While teaching at Norman Park Elementary, she received the Principal's Award and was twice selected as Teacher of the Year. She was chosen to receive the Georgia Power Company's "Bright Idea" grant and most recently was one of 200 teachers selected from across the nation to participate in the Exxon Mobile STEMS training where she was able to work with the Exxon Mobile scientist to learn cutting edge techniques to use with her students. She was an active part of the Norman Park Elementary faculty.  She has been a BETA Club sponsor, has organized and chaperoned GA Studies Tours and Washington Studies Tours, helped organize and served as the MC at talent show, and helped head up the Relay for Life team. Some of the committees she served on are the SACS review team, the leadership team, the "Feed My School" committee, and the GRASP team.    While teaching at GEAR, Ms. Monica was selected as Colquitt County’s 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year.                                                        

    Ms. Monica is passionate about education and the learning that takes place in her class. She has a simple philosophy; teachers should provide daily opportunities for students to learn and develop their strengths. She believes a classroom should be a place of discovery where students develop skills to be independent problem solvers and navigate their own learning.  Ms. Monica says, “My job as their teacher is to provide them with a destination. The route to that destination is up to them”. 

    She has two wonderful daughters, Katie and Maddie and a precious son-in-law, Brenin Davis. 

     Kelli Whatley

    Kelli is in her 8th year with the Colquitt County School system. This is her 4th year as the GEAR nurse. She has been a nurse at Willie J. Williams Middle School and The Achievment Center. Kelli was also a Health Science teacher at CA Gray Jr. High School. Prior to joining the school system, she worked as a Registered Nurse in labor & delivery, women's health, and medical surgery departments. 

    Kelli is married and has two children. Kelli and her husband are both Georgia Southern University Alumni and love to cheer for the GSU Eagles!

    Colquitt County High School-1989
    Georgia Southern University-Bachelor of Science in Nursing -1994
       Lori Weeks

    Lori is in her 22nd year in the Colquitt County School System. Her teaching career began at Norman Park Elementary where she had experience teaching kindergarten through fourth grade.  She served as a second grade gifted teacher for 6 years at Norman Park Elementary before transferring to the Gifted Center. She is currently serving as a resource teacher, testing students in grades K-12 for Gifted Services. She is passionate about meeting the needs of her students and making sure that they are striving to be their very best!  

    Lori is married to Michael Weeks and they have two children, Laine and Landon. 

    Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
    Master Degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
    Specialist Degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
    Reading Endorsement
    Gifted Endorsement   
    Educational Leadership Certification
    ESOL Endorsement
    Jeanine Wetherington

    Mrs. Wetherington is in her 38th year of teaching.  She taught third grade for four years in the Cook County School System before transferring to the Colquitt County School System in 1983. She taught second grade one year at Okapilco and transferred to Norman Park where she taught 4th and 5th grades for 19 years.

    Mrs. Wetherington has been a resource K-5 teacher with the Colquitt County Gifted Services for the past 15 years.  She was the Teacher of the Year at Lenox Elementary and twice at Norman Park Elementary. She is a TOTY 2014 state finalist.

    Mrs. Wetherington believes that “My task as an educator is to teach students to understand their uniqueness, their gifts. and their responsibilities. Some children are born into a seemingly hopeless situation. Some just lose hope along the way. I want them to know there is always hope and they have a purpose and a mission in life.”

    Mrs. Wetherington is married to Duane Wetherington and lives on the family farm where they raised three children; Heath, Britney, and Sha. Heath is married to Jennifer Baker Wetherington. They have five girls: Jacey, Libby, Sadie, Aubrey and Katie Jean. Britney is married to Jake Mobley and they have three children: Allie, Davie, and Judson.


    Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education Valdosta State

    Master Degree in Early Childhood Education Valdosta State University

    Specialist Degree in Early Childhood Education with a gifted endorsement Valdosta State University


      Rita Wills

    Rita Wills is a veteran teacher employed by the Colquitt County Board of Education. She is a fifth grade math instructor at the Gifted Center working as a part of the G.E.A.R. (Gifted Education with Academic Rigor) program. She collaborates with other teachers to plan advanced content activities and assessments which intertwine state as well as national standards of excellence across the fifth grade curriculum. She also works with the third and fourth grade math teachers at the center to organize and align standards across the grade levels to ensure a linear flow of mathematical skills, strategies, and tasks. Rita presents information to students and facilitates learning through an education which is engaging, positive, and builds a strong foundation for lifelong learning.


    After spending twenty-five years working in and dedicated to the Colquitt County public school system, Rita has invested in the future  of her hometown by helping design and implement effective high academic objectives. More importantly, Rita takes pride and ownership in molding each individual she teaches to impact his/her future. She believes in every student, she believes each has a unique purpose and talent, each is capable of learning at a high level and she makes it her job to discover and maximize that potential.


    Rita earned a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Georgia Southwestern University and a Master’s degree in early childhood education from Valdosta State University. She continued her education by earning a gifted endorsement and a math endorsement which were added to her certification. Rita has been named Teacher of the Year at Okapilco, Sunset, and the G.E.A.R. Center. She was one of the three finalists for Colquitt County Teacher of the Year in 2018.

    Cassandra Walker has nine years of elementary teaching experience. She moved to Albany from Atlanta to attend Albany State University counseling certification program. While living in Albany she worked at the Renaissance Centre in Albany. She served as a behavior specialist, mental health consultant, and therapist.

    Cassandra is excited to begin her first year serving the students of GEAR as a school counselor. She looks forward to meeting your students and working with them. She is passionate about doing her best to provide services to students that will afford them opportunities to perform at their maximum potential. Cassandra is proud to be joining a great school and community!


    Bachelor’s Degree Elementary Education from Florida A & M University in 2006

    Master’s Degree Community Counseling from Argosy University in 2013

    School Counseling Certification Program from Albany State University in 2016

    Associate Professional Counselor 2015

    National Counselor Certification 2015